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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 20, 2010

Star-Bulletin staff gets layoff notices


By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

The parent company of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin has notified its employees of potential layoffs as a result of its planned purchase of the Honolulu Advertiser.

Oahu Publications Inc. informed workers yesterday that there may be mass layoffs if the Star-Bulletin is sold to an outside investment group.

If the newspaper is not sold, the company said, it plans to consolidate the Star-Bulletin and the Advertiser, resulting in job losses at the company's Kāne'ohe printing plant and its Restaurant Row offices, the notice said.

Star-Bulletin Publisher Dennis Francis, who signed the letter, could not be reached for comment.

Owner David Black is offering to sell the 117-year-old Star Bulletin, its Web site and one of its presses to make way for his purchase of the larger Advertiser.

The sale of the Star-Bulletin or the consolidation of the newspapers is expected to take place on May 19, the letter said.

The notice comes 10 days after the Advertiser's 600 employees were told that most of them will be terminated when Black's purchase of the Advertiser is completed.

Advertiser workers will be offered temporary employment with a management company to continue to put out The Advertiser until Oahu Publications takes over the operation.

Under Hawai'i's Dislocated Workers Act and the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Star-Bulletin must provide 60-day notice to employees if the sale of the company could result in mass layoffs.

Earlier this week, the Star-Bulletin said that three potential bidders have made inquiries about acquiring the daily newspaper.

Black has said he will try to find a buyer for the Star Bulletin but didn't expect to, due to its weak finances.

Star-Bulletin officials have said the newspaper lost more than $100 million or about $40,000 a day since Black took over the publication nine years ago.